Germany says UK to suffer if no Brexit deal, not EU
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Saturday said Britain would face the brunt of the fallout if post-Brexit trade talks collapsed without a deal.
Scholz spoke as EU-UK trade talks have descended into acrimony after London’s decision to wilfully break its divorce treaty with new domestic legislation.
Britain left the EU on January 31 and is now negotiating with the EU to agree future trading relations when a transition period ends at the end of the year.
The new law in London has stoked fears that Britain will bluntly sever ties with Europe when the transition ends, throwing cross-channel ties into chaos.
“My assessment is that an unregulated situation (no deal) would have very significant consequences for the British economy,” Scholz told reporters after a meeting of EU finance ministers in Berlin.
“Europe would be able to deal with it and these would not be particularly difficult consequences after the preparations we have already made,” he added.
The EU has warned that the contentious legislation has “seriously damaged trust” between the two sides and told London that if it is not withdrawn by the end of September, Brussels will consider taking Britain to court.
Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s economics affairs commissioner, said that it was up to Britain to “re-establish trust” with the bloc.
“And in any case… we are prepared to deal with extraordinary negative outcome of this discussion,” the former Italian prime minister added in Berlin.